My Christmas wish for the Caribbean tourism sector is that we commit to promoting the region as one destination throughout 2014; that we would each commit a percentage of our annual tourism budgets towards the marketing of a strong Caribbean brand so that the Caribbean Tourism Development Company, which we own jointly with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, can bolster our campaign for the region’s benefit.
There is a major opportunity awaiting us in both traditional and emerging markets. At the recent State of the Industry Conference in Martinique, we learned much of what we need to do to successfully pursue new sources of business while also solidifying our mainstay markets. Hats off to those destinations which have begun to invest in language training and long haul airlift in preparation for new visitors in 2014.
In the New Year, let us work together to address the onerous taxes that suffocate our sector. While we will not soften our stance on requesting the British authorities address the Air Passenger Duty in a manner that is equitable, we cannot ignore the effects some of our own tax regimes are having on intra-regional travel.
In January, the Caribbean Tourism Organization celebrates 25 years of existence and during the year-long celebrations it is hoped we will be able to harmonize our efforts to boost travel to and within the region.
Allow me to challenge those who work in the industry to embrace your important role in this critically important sector. We need to truly deliver on the experience in the New Year knowing full well that seemingly small acts of kindness can create a big impact in giving visitors reasons to recommend our destinations to others.
We have much to be thankful for the natural beauty that surrounds us and some of the most creative people on the planet. Let us celebrate our authenticity this yuletide season, and share our cuisine, culture and Caribbean creativity with our families, friends, and of course, our visitors.
Let us enter 2014 as proud nations and territories of the Caribbean ready to work together in harmony to achieve results we richly deserve.
Rest well this holiday season, because we will need all hands on deck to make 2014 a successful year.
Merry Christmas and a bright and prosperous 2014 to everyone!